“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2
Jesus endured temptation and testing knowing we would all be tempted. Not only did the Spirit lead Him to this, Jesus purposely allowed Himself to be weak and weary mimicking when we are most vulnerable to temptation.
Jesus knew the cost of sinful choices better than anyone. He watched His Creation unravel as Adam and Eve failed to trust the Word of God over their own desires leading Him to pay the ultimate price to redeem fallen humanity. As a kid, it was easy to point the finger at Adam and Eve with self righteous blame. As an adult, I can clearly identify with Eve. I have been Eve, you have been Eve, we have all been Eve by thinking our own way looked better than what God’s way was offering.
But have we learned to identify the cost of going our own way? The attractiveness of sin and its pleasures are very real but as Hebrews 11:25 tells us, the pleasures of sin are fleeting. Satan only presents the benefits telling us, “You deserve it.” The truth is, we will get what we deserve from choosing temptation over God’s Word every time.
I’ve wrestled through some temptation of my own recently. No matter where we are in our faith journey, temptation will always exist but we can get better at recognizing Satan’s game. The more we are in God’s Word the easier it is to recognize things that deviate from His Word.
I don’t think any of us would purchase a shiny new, fully loaded car without first analyzing the cost associated with such a purchase. We know nothing is free and the shinier something appears, the more it will likely cost. With any purchase, it’s important to perform a cost analysis to determine if the investment is worth it. The same applies to temptation: we must perform a cost analysis. Look beyond the shiny and immediate gratification to thoroughly evaluate the price tag. Hidden fees such as regret, loss of peace, and shame (the enemy’s favorite), will surely accrue at an incredible rate when we choose to go against God’s Word. The enemy is the great deceiver but he is also the great accuser. You can bet if he lures you into something he will one day accuse you relentlessly for it, living up to His nature.
We have a saying in our house, “Don’t take the bait.” I say this to my children as a sibling attempts to lure them into an argument and quite often to myself when the temptation to react out of emotion rather than respond with reason presents itself. Satan is good at appealing to our desires and planting the seed of doubt saying, “Will God really punish you for that? Isn’t He a God of grace?” Don’t take the bait. There’s a painful hook inside that you can’t see or feel until it’s deeply rooted into your flesh. We know it’s there because God’s Word warns us on repeat. We can trust Him at His Word and know that even when the enemy presents a shiny, alluring option, there is always a cost. The cost of walking opposite of God’s instruction is never worth it. The interest charges and penalties are just too high.
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Stand up, shake off the dust, straighten your crown, and walk forward confidently grounded in truth.